It is now possible to take your pet dog, cat or ferret out of the country and back in again without the need for quarantine using a Pet Passport.
The Pets Travel Scheme (PETS) has been in operation since February 2000, and its primary aim is to keep the UK free from rabies and other diseases that might be transmitted by biting insects abroad.
What is a Pet Passport?
A pet passport is an official registration document that is unique for the pet. It contains data about the pet itself (including details of permanent identification), the registered keeper, and many health-related aspects necessary for safe travel.
The format of the passport is the same in all European countries although it’s used differently from country to country. In the UK it’s used as the document that shows your pet is disease free and is therefore allowed re-entry or entry to the UK. In other countries it is a legal requirement that all cats, ferrets and dogs must be officially registered, and this passport is their registration document.
In order to travel your pet must be at least 12 weeks old. You must ensure that your pet has been issued with a Pet Passport and that this includes:
- Details of ownership (You must sign section I if your pet passport was issued on or after 29 December 2014)
- Description of animal
- Marking or identification of animal (microchip)
- Vaccination against rabies (the vaccination or booster must have been administered a full 21 days before travel)
- Rabies blood test (if needed)
- Details of the vet issuing the passport (for passports issued from 29 December 2014)
- Your dog’s tapeworm treatment (if needed)
Before you come back you need to make sure your dog has received preventative medication against insect-borne diseases in the country you are visiting. You will need to have this administered by a registered vet.
If you don’t get a passport and follow the guidance, your pet may be put into quarantine for up to 4 months or refused entry/re-entry if you arrive by sea. You’ll need to pay all the charges and fees for this, so if you do want to take your pet abroad, you really do need to get them a passport.
Essential things to know about pet travel
Air travel is the most complicated as commercial airlines that are approved to fly animals in to the UK have set regulations. Generally – apart from assistance animals such as guide dogs – pets must travel as manifest cargo on an approved airline.
Your pet must arrive in the UK no more than 5 days before or after you, or you’ll have to follow different rules to the pet passport scheme.
Always book pet transport services through a reputable, DEFRA-authorised pet transport company.
Are there dangers for your pet when travelling in Europe that the passport isn’t going to protect them from?
Our pets can be susceptible to some exotic diseases carried by biting insects whilst you’re away. In some cases these are not easily treated and can often prove fatal, so we recommend that you book an appointment with us in plenty of time for us to issue your pet with a Pet Passport and advise you on parasite treatment required for travelling.
Do non-European countries have different requirements?
Yes. Before you go, make sure you check whether you are travelling to an EU or listed non-EU country, or an unlisted non-EU country. Travelling to and from unlisted non-EU countries tends to be more complicated than just obtaining a Pet Passport so make sure you check all the requirements ahead of time.
Some countries may be part of the Pet Passport scheme, whereas others may have their own specific requirements. Australia and New Zealand are particularly strict, requiring blood samples to be taken about 1 month before. It is recommended you contact us well in advance to ensure the appropriate tests can be done in good time.
For further information check the website of the appropriate national Government department. In the UK, this is DEFRA Website: www.defra.gov.uk/wildlife-pets/pets/travel/pets/countries/
Getting a passport for your pet is easy
Simply book a pet passport appointment. We will advise you on everything you need to ensure your pet can travel safely and legally from the UK.
Top tips for travelling with your pets
Before you travel it helps to get prepared to help make the journey and the holiday enjoyable as possible for everyone. We’ve prepared a handy checklist for you:
- Make sure you have enough of any medications your pet takes regularly including any flea control if it will become due whilst you’re away
- Store the contact details of your UK vet in your phone
- Pack any grooming items you might need such as a brush, shampoo and towels
- Pack enough of your usual pet food to last the trip as changing diet suddenly will cause them upset stomachs and confusion. Take enough food and treats for the journey too. Long-lasting chews are great for dogs during long car or plane journeys.
- Take food and water dishes
- Take an extra portable water bowl for the journeys and day trips. This is particularly important in hot countries where they will become thirsty very quickly, specially whilst they acclimatise.
- Remember their lead, poo bags, and ideally a spare lead and collar
- Get an ID tag for the trip (plus spare) which includes address and phone number of where you’re staying
- If the pet you’re taking away is a dog, consider a GPS tracking device such as Tractive
- Don’t forget your pet’s favourite toys and blankets
- If you’re taking a dog, do some research before you travel to get a list of dog-friendly places to visit including attractions, outside areas, restaurants and cafes.
- Pack a first aid kit for your pet
- If you are taking your car or hiring one (check with hire companies that they will accept pet passengers in their cars) take a dog seat-belt with you.
If you’re considering travelling with your pet and would like to discuss this with us and arrange a passport, call us on 01566 772211 to book an appointment. Castle Care Club members benefit from discounts on required pet travel elements such as the rabies vaccine, so if you aren’t already a member do mention it to us and we’ll let you know how much you could save.
Find out more about the Castle Care Club...
As well as providing many routine veterinary services, our healthcare club gives you discounts on a huge range of treatments that can help you save money on most of the vet care you need to give to your pets.
Talk with a vet or nurse about the benefits of combining a pet insurance policy along side your Castle Care Club membership
Pet advice guide: yours to download for free
Useful kitten and puppy advice for new pet owners. This FREE download is packed full of handy advice for new puppy and kitten owners. This pet advice guide is supplied courtesy of the veterinary staff at Castle Vets in Launceston.